Public relations · Edtech

How can I leverage press coverage to help raise funds/attention for our crowdfunding campaign?

Brendan Finch Founder & CEO at BirdBrain Education

February 18th, 2015

I'm an edtech entrepreneur and we're 2 days into a Kickstarter.  We've had the good fortune of being covered in Forbes, Huffington Post, Examiner (and hopefully a few others that haven't landed yet).  What are some techniques you've seen to leverage press coverage for either: further press coverage OR additional eyeballs on a company/crowdfunding campaign?
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Robert Hoskins (3,275+)

February 19th, 2015

Press releases usually fall flat when the proper SEO was not performed when writing the content of the press release and the lack of understanding of what a magazine's editorial environment is. Write a press release to fit where you want it to show up. The means reading every magazine thoroughly where you want a story to be published.

Unlike press releases of old that were really meant to be a business pitch to get a reporter to write a story, in today's digital world press releases should be written as a story that is easy for bloggers and reporters to cut and paste. The easier you make it for a reporter to do their job, the more likely you will be able to generate some ink. 

The first step is to create an electronic press kit on your site. It should contain everything a reporter needs to write a story. When a reporter reads a press release and is curious enough to visit your website, but gets there and there is nothing to read, research or cut and paste, they will move onto to someone that is easier to cover. In many cases, reporters are working late at night to file or post a story before 6:30 am EST. The earlier a story is posted say 12:01 am, the more hits a story will have to receive in a 24-hour period and that is how reporters and their editors judge content. How many hits does a story generate. This counts because that is how they sell advertising to support the magazine's editorial staff.

About 99% of WordPress sites or HTML5 sites do not have a press kit or press room present. Press rooms should contain press releases, company backgrounders, executive bios, head shots, logos, product, photos, industry reports, executive quotes, graphics, stats, recent press coverage, etc.  If you don't have this information, reporters will view your company as inexperienced and lacking business savvy.  

If you do have it, they know that someone put a lot of time and effort into creating materials they can copy and suddenly you are worth a story. And if you have this information put together, the chance that your executives are media trained and can actually share some a good information during interview are pretty good. 

And above all else is a PR contact or the CEO's cell phone, email and twitter information so that if reporters can't find what they want, they can call someone and get it ASAP. That means in less that 2 hours at most. 

A good press release that is written with SEO in mind so that it finds its way to the right reporters and has the right call-to-action to get a reporter to visit your website, who then finds a library of information they can use to write a story at midnight is the best way to achieve success with the press

Contact me via Linkedin to learn more. 


Jessica Alter Entrepreneur & Advisor

February 18th, 2015

I wouldn't email reporters and say "we already got covered in X, why don't you cover us." That's sort of the opposite of what they want. Four things I would do:
1. Read hacking kickstarter -http://fourhourworkweek.com/2012/12/18/hacking-kickstarter-how-to-raise-100000-in-10-days-includes-successful-templates-e-mails-etc/ 
You won't have time for all of it since your campaign launched but still. Influencers, influencers, influencers.
2. Do some serious homework - figure out who cares about edtech or crowdfunding and email them with a hook. Each pitch shouldn't be the same. 
3. Try to make friends with kickstarter folks - unfortunately, I hear his is much easier with Indiegogo but if you can find or through a connection know of something AND you can show our campaign is 
You're in edtech, I'd use that to craft a story about helping teachers, kids, etc. I don't see tons of edtech campaigns, use that to your advantage.
4. Reach out to an advisor that is an expert in crowdfunding or Kickstarter via FD - again, not tons of time but 
All this said, i would not rely solely on press, your own network has to get things started.

Robert Hoskins (3,275+)

February 18th, 2015

Marketing a press release can be done the same way as any other piece of marketing content. There are a large number of crowdfunding chatrooms where you can post a link. This will reach people who have an interest in crowdfunding. Do the same thing for the vertical business category of your product or service such education technology. 

Crowdfunding advocates are good for creating buzz, but end-users of the education technology such as teachers and volume buyers at school districts are more important to delivering a successful crowdfunding campaign. A great place to find large groups of potential customers are LinkedIn groups.

The goal is really to reach the correct target audience with right message that will 1.) get a potential buyer to visit your crowdfunding profile, and then, with a highly targeted call-to-action 2.) to convince them to buy a perk/reward.

And note that the crowdfunding campaign is the starting point of building an actual sales and distribution channel. Reaching the right target audience with the right reasons to buy during a crowdfunding campaign will make you successful long after the crowdfunding campaign has ended. 

Plan your email marketing, PR and social campaigns just like you would with a real product/service launch with long-term, sustainable goals and objectives. A crowdfunding profile is no different than driving customers to a cart or an e-commerce center. 

This entire process will double the reach and the success of every press release that you issue. 

Jonathan Kroll Product Manager

February 18th, 2015

Brendan Finch....now there's a name I haven't heard since freshman year! Man time flies, it seems like just yesterday we were heading up to the lake at 4:45am for rowing practice. Can you believe that was 13 years ago? Anyway, I hope all is well with you. I am also in EdTech so we should catch up soon.

Now, as for your question, I recommend subscribing to "Help a Reporter Out" and checking their Twitter feed daily:

https://twitter.com/helpareporter

The way it works is that journalists, writers, bloggers, etc. post a synopsis of the types of people or organizations they are specifically searching for to include in their respective publications. These are syndicated through email and Twitter and you then login to the HARO site to respond to the posting if interested.

This is not a precise approach but inevitably there will be a reporter who is looking for a quote or an angle that falls in line with what you'd like to publicize. I've had success using HARO myself but I don't always get a response, so the volume of your responses is key. There's all types of publications represented - from national newspapers and magazines to online journals and blogs.

Brendan Finch Founder & CEO at BirdBrain Education

February 19th, 2015

Thank you all for your advice.  Signed up on HARO.  

Robert- We've had press releases fall flat and are working hard to market the latest one to industry specific blogs.  This Kickstarter is for our second product, and definitely see this as setting up a distribution channel and place in the market, not just as an attempt to raise 30k. Any ideas on how we can use articles that have been written about us to further lead people to our site/campaign?

Jessica - Hacking Kickstarter was a daily read for the last couple of months.  What an awesome site. Much HW has been done and we've gotten some great coverage, but are looking for ways to leverage the coverage we've already had.  Any thoughts?


Jonathon Kroll!  I love hearing that other former UCSB rowers are working to change the world!  We definitely need to chat soon. 

Anonymous

February 19th, 2015

Congratulations on landing some notable press coverage. The purpose of press coverage is to raise awareness and increase credibility. Leverage the coverage you have by sharing and posting on your blogs, social media and your web site. It will help you get seen without shouting 'look at me!' The more you show up on the radar the more likely you'll be found by donors, media and customers.

Corey Quinn Chief Marketing Officer at Scorpion

February 18th, 2015

Hey Brendan,

Congrats on the launch. Check out Help A Reporterto find newspaper and media reporters who are looking for sources on stories they are working on.

Best of luck!